People accessing health care in the Lower Mainland benefit from more stable, consistent and supportive patient care as 474 housekeeping services workers return as Fraser Health employees.
This change comes after almost 20 years of these workers having their services contracted out to private companies.
“Bringing health-service workers back into the public system means better working conditions for them, better care for patients and a stronger health-care system for all of us,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “I am proud of Fraser Health for the incredible repatriation efforts they’ve made thus far.”
Health authorities and Providence Health Care continue to repatriate workers under Bill 47, bringing an estimated 4,000 workers back into the public system.
In July 2022, a further 474 housekeeping services workers will be repatriated to 18 Fraser Health sites:
- Delta Hospital
- Mountain View Manor
- Irene Thomas Hospice
- Langley Memorial Hospital
- Cedar Hill
- Maple Hill
- Ridge Meadows Hospital
- Baillie House
- Surrey Memorial Hospital
- CareLife Fleetwood
- Czorny Alzheimer Centre
- Fellburn Care Centre
- Queen’s Park Care Centre
- Peace Arch Hospital
- Dr. Al Hogg Pavilion
- Peace Arch Hospital Foundation Lodge
“Bill 47 is helping bring more housekeeping services workers in-house and providing them with security and safety,” said Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors’ Services and Long-Term Care. “Our goal is to create a stronger B.C. for everyone, and that means ensuring our health-care system and health-care service workers, who provide vital care for people every day, are supported.”
To address inequality and enhance working conditions for employees in health-care facilities, government is ensuring that workers have the benefits, wages and working conditions that they deserve to be able to help patients. Evidence has shown that employees who feel secure and safe in their jobs provide higher-quality care for people, and in turn, employers can attract and retain staff at a higher and more consistent level.
Following the initial announcement on Aug. 30, 2021, health authorities and Providence Health Care served notice under the terms of 21 commercial service contracts and began a phased approach to repatriate housekeeping and food service contracts, beginning with Island Health.
Work to bring health-care service workers back into the public system began in 2019, when the Province brought Bill 47 (Health Sector Statutes Repeal Act) into force. Bill 47 repealed the Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act (Bill 29) and the Health Sector Partnerships Agreement Act (Bill 94), which had facilitated contracting out in the health sector and caused significant labour impacts.
In 2020, the process was started with the North Island Hospitals, which spearheaded the move independently of Bill 47 to bring 150 contracted-out workers in-house at the Campbell River and Comox Valley hospitals.
Harry Bains, Minister of Labour –
“All workers deserve stable employment that treats them with dignity and respect. Years ago, dedicated people who worked hard to provide quality services to support their families unfairly lost their jobs. They had to reapply – at lower wages and without previously negotiated seniority and other collective agreement protections – for their own positions. I am so gratified to see that terrible injustice now be corrected.”
Dr. Victoria Lee, president and CEO, Fraser Health –
“Our housekeeping workers are essential to providing the highest quality of care to our patients, clients and residents, and I am very pleased to welcome hundreds more back to the Fraser Health family this summer. Their work has made our health system stronger, and I know they will continue to have a positive impact in our region as Fraser Health employees for years to come.”
Meena Brisard, secretary-business manager, Hospital Employees' Union (HEU) -
“Hospital housekeepers are critical to patient care and safety. Reuniting them with the health-care team recognizes their essential work and improves their lives by providing better wages and benefits, which leads to less turnover and an improved public health-care system for all of us. What we've learned from these past 20 years of privatization is that contracting out disproportionately impacts women and racialized health-care workers. We can do better, and today we are.”
Learn more about Bill 47: https://archive.news.gov.bc.ca/releases/news_releases_2017- 2021/2018HLTH0102-002147.htm
For the Aug. 30, 2021, announcement on Bill 47: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021HLTH0157-001703
A backgrounder follows.